Last Updated: 16th September 2021

How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker (11 Ways)

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    Today, you will learn how to make fantastic coffee without a coffee maker.

    We aren’t just talking about electronic coffee makers with glass pots, though. Drip filters, French presses, percolators, Moka pots – all these sophisticated tools count as coffee makers.

    What if you don’t have any of these?

    Or what if the power is out? Perhaps you’re at a campsite, and you forgot to bring your drip filter. Or maybe you’re at an office or vacation rental with no brewing tools.

    You’re still in luck, because there are many ways to make a great-tasting cup of coffee. You can even do it without a filter. As long as you have coffee and water, you can brew using little more than everyday household items.


    In-Short

    • Brewing coffee without a coffee maker is easy if you’re willing to go quick and dirty or improvise.
    • When you make coffee without using a filter, it’s best to let the coffee grounds sink to the bottom. This way, you get fewer grounds in your coffee when you serve it.
    • You should also pour carefully so that the grounds stay in the pot or saucepan. You can use a spoon to help keep the grounds out.
    • You should use about 14 grams of ground coffee for every 230 ml of water. This ratio will vary depending on the brewing method you use, as well as your palate.
    • Don’t shy away from keeping instant coffee in your pantry. This is helpful in the event when taste can’t be as much of a priority.


    Keep This in Mind Before Brewing Without a Coffee Maker

    Consider this a warning: if you’re looking for the perfect, filtered cup of coffee, you might want to leave the room now. These methods are as classic and low-tech as they get, while others are bizarre but satisfying.
    The purpose of having a coffee filter or screen is, in large part, to keep the coffee grounds out of your drink. Coffee grounds are edible, so accidentally ingesting some grounds is a first world problem. It’s a question of whether or not you can handle the sludgy texture of the coffee grounds.

    With most of the below methods, you can keep out most of the coffee grounds. In cowboy coffee, for example, the grounds naturally settle to the bottom of the pot. Most of them will stay there when you pour your coffee.

    Without a filter or screen, you’ll need to be careful. These methods are for if you just want a cup of coffee and you’ll do anything to get that caffeine.

    Not everyone may have a high tech coffee brewer laying around the house. Chances are, some people lack the lower-tech alternatives like drip filters and French-presses, too.

    These simple, no-fuss methods require none of these sophisticated materials. This especially comes in handy if you lose power, or are in a limited location like a campground.


    What You Absolutely Need

    That said, you’ll still need these tools for making great coffee without a coffee maker:

    • Coffee – You can’t make coffee without the titular ingredient! You can buy pre-ground coffee if you don’t have a grinder. If you have a grinder, we recommend whole bean coffee for a fresher tasting cup.
    • Water – This is your other main ingredient. You can use any water to make coffee with, but bottled will do if you don’t have access to drinking water.
    • Saucepan or kettle – Electric kettles are easy to come across, but let’s say the power was out. Provided you have a gas stove you can still heat water with a stovetop saucepan or kettle. You could also use a Coleman stove or a campfire. Just as long as you have a means to get your water hot.
    • Mug – Or any cup that you can drink coffee from. We won’t judge. After all, these are no fuss, low tech methods.

     

    Alternative Brewing Methods

    Here are 10 of our favourite brewing methods that don’t require a coffee maker. Full disclosure: some of these do call for a filtration technique while others do not. It depends on what you have around the house and what trouble you’re willing to go through.

    Rule of thumb: for every 230 ml of water, you’ll want to aim for approximately 14 grams of ground coffee. The ideal coffee-to-water ratio will vary, depending on the method and your taste. Refer to our coffee calculator for more information and feel free to experiment!

    Cowboy cooking coffee


    Cowboy Coffee

    This is perfect for camping or if your power is out, but you still have the means to heat water.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Saucepan


    Making cowboy coffee is as simple as this:

    1. Put water in your saucepan and heat it on the stove. For optimal brewing, we recommend heating the water to 90° C.
    2. Remove from heat and add your coffee. Stir and let it sit for 2 minutes.
    3. Stir the coffee/water mixture again and let sit for another 2 minutes. This gives your coffee a total of 4 minutes of brewing time.
    4. Optional: Sprinkle a little bit of cold water on the coffee. This helps the coffee grounds settle to the bottom of the pot.
    5. To serve, slowly pour the brewed coffee into your mug to keep the grounds out.


    Pour-Over Jar

    With this method, you’re improvising and using a cloth as a makeshift coffee filter.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Kettle
    • Jar
    • Non-textured dish towel, paper towel, handkerchief, or cheesecloth


    Here’s how you do it:

    1. Place your cloth of choice over the jar. Leave some slack in the inside so that you can put coffee grounds in there. Clamp the cloth on using clothespins or a rubber band.
    2. Add coffee to the cloth.
    3. Heat your water to 90 degrees C.
    4. Pour water over coffee grounds and watch it brew, just like a drip filter!
    5. Once you’re done brewing, pour coffee into your mug and enjoy!

     

    Kitchen table with a blue towel. Top view with copy space


    Makeshift French Press

    If you don’t have a French press laying around, there’s a way to mimic the technique using everyday household items!

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee (preferably a coarse grind)
    • Kettle
    • Two cups/mugs (one for brewing and one for drinking. The brewing cup should be larger, especially if you’re serving more than one person.)


    Here’s what you do:

    1. Boil water to 90 degrees C.
    2. With the coffee grounds in your brewing cup, pour in just enough water to cover the grounds. This is to wet the grounds and help them bloom.
    3. Wait 30 seconds, then pour in the remaining water. Let it brew for approximately 4 minutes.
    4. Slowly pour the coffee into your mug and enjoy! The grounds will be mostly sunk to the bottom. With a little finesse and steady hands, you should be able to get a clean cup of coffee.


    Coffee Bag

    With this method, you need to have coffee filters at home. You can use a coffee filter to mimic a coffee bag, which brews in a similar way to tea.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Kettle
    • Cup or mug
    • Coffee filter
    • Twine or string
    •  

    Here’s how you do it:

    1. Heat 237 ml of water to 90 degrees C.
    2. Put 30 grams of ground coffee inside your coffee filter.
    3. Tie the top of the filter with string to make your coffee bag. Leave enough room inside for the coffee grounds to bloom. Also, leave enough string length for removing the bag once you’re done brewing.
    4. With your coffee bag inside the mug, pour hot water into the mug. Make sure the bag is completely submerged.
    5. Brew for 3 to 4 minutes. You may want to deduct time for a weaker brew or add time for stronger coffee.
    6. Remove the bag and enjoy your coffee!


    Turkish Coffee

    This is a similar method to cowboy coffee; only it’s a little more precise. You are aiming for a stronger, frothier cup of coffee.

    traditional turkish coffee being prepared in hot sand


    What You Need:

    • 180 ml of cold water
    • A heaping tablespoon of ground coffee
    • Saucepan


    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Put water and coffee in a saucepan and put the burner on low heat.
    2. Just before the water boils, remove the saucepan from heat. Skim off the foam and put it in your mug.
    3. Return saucepan to heat and bring it to a near boil again.
    4. Remove from heat and add half of the coffee to your cup.
    5. Bring remaining coffee in the saucepan to a near boil one more time. Remove from heat once it’s boiled for 15 seconds.
    6. Add remaining mixture (grounds and all) to your cup. Let sit for 3 minutes. This will give your grounds time to sink to the bottom.


    Sock Coffee

    Bet you didn’t know you could make fresh, filtered coffee with a sock, did you? The interwoven fabric in a standard sock makes it perfect for use as a coffee filter.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • A clean sock
    • A cup or mug


    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Place the sock over your cup, toe side facing the inside of the cup.
    2. Put coffee in the toes of your sock.
    3. Heat water in microwave or kettle
    4. Pour water into the sock toe and watch your coffee brew.
    5. Discard coffee grounds, throw your sock in the wash, and enjoy your coffee!


    Microwave

    This may be the simplest method of brewing coffee. If you can use a microwave, your fresh cup of joe is just minutes away.

    Warming Cup Of Coffee Inside Microwave Oven


    What You Need:

    • Coffee
    • Water
    • Microwave safe cup or mug
    • A microwave


    It’s as easy as this:

    1. Fill the mug with water and heat in the microwave for about 2 minutes, or until the water is hot but below boiling.
    2. Stir in ground coffee.
    3. Let it all sit for four minutes to brew your coffee. Meanwhile, the grounds can sink to the bottom.
    4. Enjoy! Be careful not to sip the coffee grounds at the end, unless you don’t mind chewing on them.


    Cold Brew

    Now for the brewing method that requires the most patience. The payout is, you get a jar filled with a coffee concentrate that you can keep in the fridge for 7-10 days.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee (preferably coarse grind)
    • Use a 1 to 5 coffee-water ratio.
    • Two Mason jars (wide mouth)
    • Cheesecloth, handkerchief or other means of filtration
    • Refrigerator


    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Add coffee grounds to one of the Mason jars and wet them.
    2. After waiting for 30 seconds, fill the jar the rest of the way with cold water.
    3. Refrigerate for 14 to 24 hours. The longer you wait, the stronger the coffee concentrate will be.
    4. Put filter cloth over the other Mason jar and secure it with clothespins or rubber band. Leave some slack on the inside so that the coffee grounds can go in.
    5. Pour coffee mixture through the filter into the other Mason jar.
    6. Keep filtered concentrate in refrigerator for up to 10 days. To serve, mix with the desired amount of water. Less water equals less dilution. You can heat it or drink it cold.


    Strainer

    One way to make filtered coffee if you don’t have any coffee filters is to use a strainer.

    Keep in mind that for best results, you should use a fine or double-layered mesh strainer. Make sure the one you have doesn’t have big enough holes for the grounds to go through.

    What You Need:

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Saucepan
    • Fine mesh strainer


    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Mix coffee and water in a saucepan.
    2. Bring mixture to boil on the stove and keep boiling for two minutes.
    3. Place strainer over cup or mug.
    4. Remove mixture from heat and pour through a strainer into your mug.
    5. Discard coffee grounds and enjoy your coffee!


    Instant Coffee

    This may seem like a last resort – but think about it. Instant coffee is convenient and keeps in your pantry for a long time. It may not be the best-tasting coffee, but it works if you have a coffee emergency.

    how to make coffee without a coffee maker


    Let’s say your coffee maker is broke. Or you ran out of regular coffee. You can get your instant coffee out of the pantry and get your fix almost immediately.

    What You Need:

    • Instant coffee
    • Hot water


    It’s as easy as this:

    1. Heat water.
    2. Mix with instant coffee powder in a mug. Follow directions on the package for best results.
    3. Drink up!


    How Can You Best Make Coffee Without A Filter?

    Let’s say you have no filters in the house, and no way to filter your coffee otherwise. Maybe you don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a makeshift coffee filter.

    Some of the above methods, including the makeshift French press and cowboy coffee, don’t involve filters.

    The key to serving coffee brewed using these methods is to pour carefully. The grounds naturally sink to the bottom of the pot, so most of them should stay out of your mug.

    You can use a spoon to help keep the grounds back while pouring. If you don’t mind a little sludge, you could just pour the coffee, grounds and all.


    How Can You Best Make Coffee at a Campsite?

    If you’re camping, chances are you don’t have a Keurig machine or espresso pump ready to go. Even if you have a camper with electricity, it might be easier to bring pots and pans instead of using different contraptions for making coffee.

    With this in mind, cowboy coffee is the best way to make coffee at a campsite. All you have to do is mix coffee with hot water in a saucepan. If you want, you can do this on your campfire.

    Keep in mind that with campfires, the temperature is much harder to control. You’ll want to make sure your water isn’t boiling too hard, or your coffee’s flavour will be ruined.

    You can also track down campfire coffee pots for this purpose.

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